Washington, D.C., July 13, 2020 — In response to the death of Egyptian journalist Mohamed Monir after contracting COVID-19 in pretrial detention, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“We are extremely disturbed by journalist Mohamed Monir’s death today after he spent more than two weeks unnecessarily held in pretrial detention at Cairo’s notorious Tora Prison,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Egyptian authorities must release all journalists held for their work, as even brief detentions amid the COVID-19 pandemic can mean a death sentence.”
Monir was arrested on June 15 on charges of joining a terrorist group, spreading false news, and misusing social media, as CPJ documented at the time. He was released from Cairo’s Tora Prison unconditionally on July 2 after falling ill in custody, and died today at the Agouza Hospital in Giza of complications with COVID-19, according to a report and Facebook post by Al-Jazeera, a Facebook post by Monir’s daughter, and a report in independent Egyptian news website Mada Masr.
The Ministry of Interior, which oversees the state prisons, did not return CPJ’s emailed request for comment.
[Editor’s Note: The text in the third paragraph has been updated to include additional sourcing.]